Having rejoined first-team training with Arsenal, quotes from Unai Emery suggest Rob Holding should be available for first-team action this week.
Holding has been starting matches with the Arsenal u23s recently, putting a good run of games together for the side.
The centre-back played around an hour against Watford in pre-season and Blackburn on the first day of the campaign, before getting 90 minutes against Everton and Leicester, both times at the Emirates Stadium.
Before the most recent game against Leicester on Saturday, Unai Emery suggested this week could be time for the defender to finally rejoin the first team on the pitch, as he has been in training.
“Rob is training with us, he is playing with the under-23s in matches and he is very close to playing with us,” Emery began.
“If he is going to play with the under-23s (as he did) then that match is important for him to feel good, to feel comfortable, to feel confident. It’s a possibility that in the next week he could play with us.”
Arsenal travel to Frankfurt for the first match of the Europa League group stage on Thursday, and it’s looking likely Holding could be involved on the trip.
It wouldn’t be the worst time for the defender to return to the starting lineup, considering the number of individual errors David Luiz and Sokratis Papastathopoulos have committed in the last few games.
The Frankfurt game is also a bit of a free hit, as the toughest away game in the group stage. This is the game Arsenal can most afford to drop points in, as long as they then beat Frankfurt at home. Losing against Aston Villa at the weekend would have much more significant consequences.
Obviously a good result in Germany would help with morale and would be great for Holding on a personal note. That’s why it seems worth the risk to give him a shot. The defender certainly appears to be fit enough, it’s just the match sharpness he needs now.